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Government's wants more urgent than its needs



I am grieving the loss of common sense in the Government and the contributions by those who are suppose to be the advisors, Cabinet members and company, to our king. The announcement of establishing consular offices in Canberra and Wellington is a good example. It seems the Government’s “wants” has priority over the true needs” of the kingdom. The “wants” are things that are nice to have but we can live without. The “needs” are those things we must have to survive as a kingdom.

Having consular offices are nice things to have, but we sure can live without them. For over a century, we have managed to make it without a single office in those two countries. Rebuilding Nuku’alofa is something we cannot afford to neglect for those infrastructures generates revenues and it will help rebuild our fractured economy. The Greek philosopher, Aristotle once said, “Poverty creates two things: crime and revolution.” But, who am I to say anything other than I am Foa’s village idiot who thinks the Government should spent its money in Tonga first.

But, why establish and office in Wellington, while the majority of Tongans reside in Auckland and the surrounding area? I am sure ‘Alani Taione knows where Wellington is. He can still get there with his car. But why London, New York, and San Francisco; as they are among the most expensive cities in the world. Why have a consular in London where there are very few Tongans and neglect Auckland where thousands of our own live there? Do we look at what we can afford vice what we must have? Is the alternative even considered? For example, the millions of dollars spent to operate the office in New York can be managed from either Nuku’alofa or San Francisco. It is not like there is a requirement for the Consular in New York to have a daily audience with George W. (Dubya) Bush or the UN Secretary General. I will not be surprised if Dubya thinks Tonga is in Africa.

As we struggle to meet our domestic needs, for they are vital to our existence as a kingdom, our government is worried about having good relations with countries who are probably sick of corruption and the incompetent handling of our resources. Albeit, our population is minute in comparison to some of their medium cities. Our leaders seem to worry more about how others look at us as a kingdom than how their own people in the kingdom look at them. What issues have to be handled in Wellington that can’t be discussed in Tonga between the New Zealand High Commissioner, the Prime Minister and the king himself? But, I am looking at effective (doing the right thing) and efficiency (doing things right), the ingredients to good governance. Then again, no one asked me. Like most people, I normally do not pay attention to idiots, either.

It is possible I am a blind idiot, but I do not see the benefit of spending millions of badly needed dollars in New York and London where there are only 13 Tongan residents within a thousand mile radius, meanwhile we have people in Tonga (Popua, Patangata, and Sopu) who live near dumpsites conditions. When the living standard is increased, the economy flourishes. The assistance received by most communities in Tonga come from outside not inside the kingdom; all without consular offices. It is high time we change our priorities and help ourselves first.

As I struggle to get over my grief, I think about children’s stories that talk about genies who grant wishes. For if I meet a genie today, who wants to grant me my wish, my one wish will be for the leaders in Tonga to have common sense and use them. For I fear the fairy tale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, by the Danish poet and author, Hans Christian Andersen, may come true. The direction our government is heading, the King will be like the emperor in the story. Our policies may drive him to lose his clothes and he won’t even know it.

But, who would listen to an idiot, anyway?

Tama Foa

Tevita [dot] Langi [at] AMEDD [dot] ARMY [dot] MIL